For The Trees

Who is our economy FOR, anyway?

About the Authors:
Dave Johnson
John Emerson
Richard Reich
Thomas Leavitt


Recent Posts:
Moved to Seeingtheforest.com
This Blog Has Moved
Democracy Arsenal
Thought Crimes
Think Progress
Bill Bradley Describes VRWC in NY Times Piece Toda...
Blog Change Coming Friday
How the Liberal Media Myth is Created
Interest Rates
Finally Leaving Blogger


BEST OF STF:

Dave's:

Articles not at STF:

The ATLA Speech on building a progressive infrastructure
Lowering the Bar
The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law
Who's Behind the Attack on Liberal Professors

On the Right and their communications infrastructure:

Why Republicans Win
Win or Lose
The "Conventional Wisdom" Machine
Some History of the Conservative Movement
HOW TO FIGHT BACK
An Amplifier Of Our Own
Don't Blame the Democrats
How They Do It 1 2 3 4
Getting Rolled

Other:

You're Gonna Get Drafted
Scalia and Self-Government
Who is Our Economy For?
Voting Machine Story Link Collection
What's Wrong with this Picture? (Voting Machines)
Like Meat in the Supermarket
Get Active
Thin Line 1 2 3
Fixing Social Security
Seeing the Forest I, II, III
"Incredibly Positive News"
The Breadth of It
The Republican Crony Club
Moon Bush
Ralph Nader is a Scab


John's Best Of:
Kerry Smear Page
Bandar Bush
9/11 Commission Report Damages Bush -- if you read it
Florida Goon Squad Intimidated the Supreme Court
The Use and Abuse of George Orwell
Zizka's Archives (John's previous identity)
Zizka Sampler


News Sources:
AlterNet
BuzzFlash
Common Dreams
Cursor
Drudge Retort
Information Clearing House
Smirking Chimp
TruthOut
What REALLY Happened

Links to Other Weblogs:




1/10/2004
 



Community

Democrats' Killer App


 



It Begins

The smearing starts:
"A senior administration official said O'Neill's 'suggestion that the administration was planning an invasion of Iraq days after taking office is laughable. Nobody listened to him when he was in office. Why should anybody now?' "
Man, is this guy gonna get smeared, or what? I can hear Rove now, "Paul, I don't want to do this to you, but I have a reputation to maintain. It's business, not personal. If I let you get away with this, pretty soon every cabinet member or reporter will be telling what they know. It's business, Paul, not personal."


 



Let's hope Cheney doesn't die

Because according to the Constitution, if Cheney dies George W. Bush will become President!

Juan Cole on the Paul O'Neill interview.


 



Is It For Real?

Drudge has this report up: SAYS INVASION OF IRAQ WAS PLANNED IN THE FIRST DAYS OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION LONG BEFORE 9/11... (Second source here):
The Bush Administration began laying plans for an invasion of Iraq including the use of American troops within days of President Bush's inauguration in January of 2001, not eight months later after the 9/11 attacks as has been previously reported. That is what former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says in his first interview about his time as a White House insider. O'Neill talks to Lesley Stahl in the interview, to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Jan. 11 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

[. . .] O'Neill, fired by the White House for his disagreement on tax cuts, is the main source for an upcoming book, "The Price of Loyalty," authored by Ron Suskind. Suskind says O'Neill and other White House insiders he interviewed gave him documents that show that in the first three months of 2001, the administration was looking at military options for removing Saddam Hussein from power and planning for the aftermath of Saddam's downfall, including post-war contingencies like peacekeeping troops, war crimes tribunals and the future of Iraq's oil. "There are memos," Suskind tells Stahl, "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq.'" A Pentagon document, says Suskind, titled "Foreign Suitors For Iraqi Oilfield Contracts," outlines areas of oil exploration. "It talks about contractors around the world from...30, 40 countries and which ones have what intentions on oil in Iraq," Suskind says.
This is huge! If you combine this with the reports that Cheney's "secret energy task force" was meeting with oil companies to divide up Iraq's oil, long before 9/11, we have a criminal conspiracy to invade another country. And I don't mean in our own paranoid fantasies where we imagine the worst about this crowd, I mean for real.

Update -This is serious shit. From the Nuremberg Indictments, Count 2, "Crimes against peace":
All the defendants with divers other persons, during a period of years preceding 8 May 1945, participated in the planning, preparation, initiation, and waging of wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements, and assurances.
So this has got me re-reading the indictment from the start, and I have to say it is not all that unlike a description of what has been happening here. Like this:
(c) The Nazi conspirators conceived that, in addition to the suppression of distinctively political opposition, it was necessary to suppress or exterminate certain other movements or groups which they regarded as obstacles to their retention of total control in Germany and to the aggressive aims of the conspiracy abroad. Accordingly:
(1) The Nazi conspirators destroyed the free trade unions...

(2) The Nazi conspirators, by promoting beliefs and practices incompatible with Christian teaching, sought to subvert the influence of the churches over the people and in particular over the youth of Germany.
Or how about accomplishing the same results by infiltrating and taking over Christian organizations, and telling the public that our leader is taking directions from God...
(3) The persecution by the Nazi conspirators of pacifist groups, including religious movements dedicated to pacifism, was particularly relentless and cruel.
etc...
Does any of this strike a familiar chord?




1/09/2004
 



No Mystery: The Iraq War was a Fraud

Following Kenneth Pollack, Kevin Drum asks "Why were we so wrong about Iraq's WMD?"

The Iraq war was a successful fraud abetted by a hopelessly servile press and foreign-affairs establishment. Pollard played a key role.

The Rove administration fully believes that perception is more real than reality, and indeed, at crunch time very few people were corny, old-fashioned, or stodgy enough to stick out their necks and reject the hype. A lot of people who thought they were inside players turned out to be suckers. It happens all the time: "You can't cheat an honest man".

Adventurists are gamblers: "Let's take a shot at this and see what happens". Very few in the administration believed either the al Qaeda story or the WMD story; those stories were just PR. They figured that once the rubber hit the road, the combination of hysteria, gloating, and rabid patriotism would keep dissent intimidated.

The only thing that screwed them up was that the occupation turned out be a lot tougher than expected. They believed that everyone in Iraq hated Saddam (not true) and that once Saddam and his supporters were gone, all problems would disappear (also not true).

The official story changed several times, and not everyone cared. Up until recently (they aren't saying it much any more) the semi-offical line was "The details don't make any difference: WE WON, and that will be enough for the American people!"

It almost worked. And it might still, if they manage to find another crisis.



 



Voting Machines Story

According to this Miami Herald story, New system no easy touch for 134 voters in Broward,
"In Tuesday's special election to fill state House seat 91, 134 Broward voters managed to use the 2-year-old touch-screen equipment without casting votes for any candidate.

How so many happened to cast nonvotes remains a riddle. Unlike with punch cards or paper ballots, there's no paper record with electronic voting that might offer a clue to the voter's intent.

The percentage of nonvotes -- 1.3 percent -- is modest compared to the days of ''hanging'' and ''pregnant chads.'' But in Tuesday's race, every vote was crucial. In a seven-candidate field, Ellyn Bogdanoff beat Oliver Parker by just 12 votes."
So one candidate "won" by 12 votes, but somehow 134 votes were not ocunted. And there is no paper trail to show what happened.


 



A Comment I Left

Here's a comment I left to this post at Hullabaloo, talking about the Club For Growth's anti-Dean ad:
"The thing is, ANYthing that is repeated over and over, without being countered in time, will become accepted as a truth. Marketers do this because it works.

My favorite example is people saying they shouldn't switch to satellite TV because wind knocks over the dishes. And also, DSL is better than cable modems because cable modems are shared with lots of people. Both of these claims are just hogwash, of course, but the ads were repeated into a vacuum - an area where people had no other information but did have an interest in learning, and the claims sounded reasonable.

This stuff WORKS. If you can plant your message repeatedly before counter messages are out there you win. It is VERY difficult to counter a "conventional wisdom" once it has taken hold. The Right's marketing infrastructure operates on this principle.

One thing the Right has that moderates and progressives don't seem to understand very well, is marketing. I mean, the Right is populated by people with corporate backgrounds and a cynical view that you can sell air if you just market it right -- coming from tobacco company marketing people who were able to convince people to kill themselves while handing over their money to their executioners.

Marketing works. Repetition works. Repeating simple catch-phrases to the public works.





1/08/2004
 



THE MEATRIX

THE MEATRIX (found at CalPundit).

By the way, I'm not pushing vegetarianism. The article I posted before Thanksgiving on turkeys suggested buying family-farmed "heritage" turkeys. The Meatrix suggests family farms. And organic meats won't give you CJD. It is important to me that the animals have better lives.


 



Dean and Clark

I wish I could see a debate between just Dean and Clark.


 



Mad Cow

Could Mad Cow Disease Already be Killing Thousands of Americans Every Year?:
"October 2001, 34-year-old Washington State native Peter Putnam started losing his mind. One month he was delivering a keynote business address, the next he couldn't form a complete sentence. Once athletic, soon he couldn't walk. Then he couldn't eat. After a brain biopsy showed it was Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, his doctor could no longer offer any hope. 'Just take him home and love him,' the doctor counseled his family.[1,2,3] Peter's tragic death, October 2002, may have been caused by Mad Cow disease."
There are hundreds of "sporadic" cases of CJD in America, considered to arise on their own, not from eating meat. But now studies are showing that they arise in meat-eaters and may not be sporadic after all. The article is detailed, but worth reading.
Compared to people that didn't eat ham, for example, those who included ham in their diet seemed ten times more likely to develop CJD.[27] In fact, the USDA may have actually recorded an outbreak of "mad pig" disease in New York 25 years ago, but still refuses to reopen the investigation despite petitions from the Consumer's Union (the publishers of Consumer Reports magazine).[28]

Sporadic CJD has also been associated with weekly beef consumption,[29] as well as the consumption of roast lamb,[30] veal, venison, brains in general,[31] and, in North America, seafood.[32,33] The development of CJD has also, surprisingly, been significantly linked to exposure to animal products in fertilizer,[34] sport fishing and deer hunting in the U.S.,[35] and frequent exposure to leather products.[36]

We do not know at this time whether chicken meat poses a risk. There was a preliminary report of ostriches allegedly fed risky feed in German zoos who seemed to come down with a spongiform encephalopathy.[37] Even if chickens and turkeys themselves are not susceptible, though, they may become so-called "silent carriers" of Mad Cow prions and pass them on to human consumers.[38]
What it all boils down to is they ahve been feeding animals to other animals that shouldn't be eating animals, and the animals are getting or carrying this disease, and now it looks like people might be getting it, too.
The recent exclusion of most cow brains, eyes, spinal cords, and intestines from the human food supply may make beef safer, but where are those tissues going? These potentially infectious tissues continue to go into animal feed for chickens, other poultry, pigs, and pets (as well as being rendered into products like tallow for use in cosmetics, the safety of which is currently under review[42]). Until the federal government stops the feeding of slaughterhouse waste, manure, and blood to all farm animals, the safety of meat in America cannot be guaranteed.
Regular readers of Seeing the Forest already know about the problem in deer. Are we seeing the tip of an iceberg -- a new disease that will emerge in the next decades, thanks to deregulation and corporate greed?
The hundreds of American families stricken by sporadic CJD every year have been told that it just occurs by random chance. Professor Collinge, the head of the University College of London lab, noted "When you counsel those who have the classical sporadic disease, you tell them that it arises spontaneously out of the blue. I guess we can no longer say that."
Just how bad might it be?
The most frequent misdiagnosis of CJD among the elderly is Alzheimer's disease.[55] Neither CJD nor Alzheimer's can be conclusively diagnosed without a brain biopsy,[56] and the symptoms and pathology of both diseases overlap. There can be spongy changes in Alzheimer's, for example, and senile Alzheimer's plaques in CJD.[57] Stanley Prusiner, the scientist who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of prions, speculates that Alzheimer's may even turn out to be a prion disease as well.[58] In younger victims, CJD is more often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis or as a severe viral infection.[59]

Over the last 20 years the rates of Alzheimer's disease in the United States have skyrocketed.[60] According to the CDC, Alzheimer's Disease is now the eighth leading cause of death in the United States,[61] afflicting an estimated 4 million Americans.[62] Twenty percent or more of people clinically diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, though, are found at autopsy not to have had Alzheimer's at all.[63] A number of autopsy studies have shown that a few percent of Alzheimer's deaths may in fact be CJD. Given the new research showing that infected beef may be responsible for some sporadic CJD, thousands of Americans may already be dying because of Mad Cow disease every year.[64]
Still eating meat?


 



Voting Machines Story

Doubts will Persist until Secure, Accurate Elections Become a National Priority.


 



NPR Hates America

NPR : Measuring Costs of Iraq War:
NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reports on the number of wounded in Iraq. It's a number that is much higher than many think and also extremely difficult to come by. And of the close to 9,000 wounded, few details are available concerning their injuries.Keep in mind as you listen, these numbers are only for the Army.

What kind of disloyal, unpatriotic freak would try to report on our casualties. This guy should be locked up.

Thanks to Atrios.


 



Weekly New Unemployment Claims - UNadjusted

According to the ETA Press Release: Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report:
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 546,823 in the week ending Jan. 3, an increase of 30,431 from the previous week."





1/07/2004
 



Digby Says About Republicans

About the Plame affair:
"These guys control all branches of government and operate above the law in plain sight with no repercussions. They’ll keep the media merrily chasing decades-old rumors of gossip of whispers that say that as a Lt Governor, Howard Dean was once seen using the office telephone for personal use, which while not specifically illegal is nonetheless shockingly improper in its appearance of impropriety."



 



Credit crunch coming?

Are Americans facing a credit crunch?:
" The American Bankers Association (ABA) reported Tuesday that 4.09 percent of all credit-card accounts were delinquent in the third quarter, the highest rate on record, and said the weak job market was probably to blame.

But Morgan Stanley senior economist Bill Sullivan suggested there may be another culprit -- the end of the mortgage refinancing boom.

"It is no coincidence that households found it more difficult to maintain current payment schedules just as the volume of refinancing activity began to dry up as the second half of the calendar year got underway," Sullivan wrote in a research note Wednesday.

The refinancing boom, triggered as mortgage rates fell to the lowest level in a generation, offered homeowners a ready source of cash. Most consumers plowed that cash back into their houses, for new washers and dryers, carpeting or to build that new deck.

But others used it simply to pay bills, including their credit-card bills. Shut off the refi spigot, and you may have shut off the ability of some cardholders to pay. "
Shit hitting fan yet?


 



Overcome At A Meeting

I was at a Dean precinct-walking organizing meeting last night. One woman attending the meeting raised her hand to speak, and started to say something concerning precinct walking, and then suddenly was in tears. She explained that she had been watching some news about Iraq earlier, and had been thinking about it, and in the middle of talking she was overcome by how terrible it is what is happening, and how great it was that she was able to attend a meeting in a room full of people who are trying to do something about it.

This wasn't a "latte-drinking, body-piercing, public radio listening" caricature that the Republicans have of their opponents. This was a corporate executive. What is happening in our country is NOT the usual "political cycle."


 



Best Anti-Bush Ad

Bush In 41.2 Seconds. Warning, this is a SATIRE of the MoveOn ads! In fact, it captures what I thought was wrong with many of the submissions. Some of the submissions were very good, but many were just angry blasts at Bush, guaranteed to turn off most Americans. Several of the finalists fall into this category.

To reach people, it's better to show images they will identify with at an emotional level, and people who are like them, expressing views that the viewer might express. You can use a negative message to undermine support, but it's better to plant a question than to blast anger. Don't just say "Bush lies." Say something that the viewer can relate to. Remember, the viewers are starting from an attitude of liking Bush and believing his message. So you are insulting them if you are just saying Bush is wrong, or Bush is lying. That's calling the viewer a fool.

In my opinion, the MoveOn finalists that are most effective are "Child's Pay," "What are we teaching our children?," "Imagine" (borderline), and "Human Cost of War" (for other reasons - it has an emotional impact). Unfortunately there were some excellent submissions that didn't make it to the finals. One of the best that I remember was women talking to each other over coffee.


 



Time To Boycott NPR

Read this at Eschaton, and be sure to read the references a Media Whores Online.

I think it is time for a very public boycott of NPR. I think we're seeing an example of NPR's response to the pressure from the right. Well, guess what, WE are Americans. too. OUR interests are just as legitimate as those of the right-wingers.




1/06/2004
 



The Nation: University of California's Institute for Labor and Employment under attack by Olin/Scaife funded "think tank"

[This arrived in my inbox via the LaborGreens mailing list. The line below prompted me to post:

"Yet the question indicates how far public discourse has moved since the National Labor Relations Act became the nation's basic law giving unions legal status."

The context is a discussion of whether it is appropriate for the taxpayer to fund anything that promotes the interests of labor [in this case, academic research]. The author highlights the fact that the government spend untold millions (tens of millions? hundreds of millions?) funding programs that promote the interest of business, and that (at least on paper), the official policy of the federal government, since 1936, has been to encourage (not merely permit) collective bargaining.

Again, appropos to the theme of this web log... this is an excellent example of how the far right has attempted to shift the ground on which public policy debates occur, and of how they do it (hundreds of thousands of dollars from in Olin and Scaife money to the Pacific Research Institute in this case), with the ultimate goal being to defund and disable institutions which support progressive action and the rights of the average working person. -Thomas]

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040112&s=bacon

Class Warfare

by David Bacon

in The Nation, January 12th, 2004

The best labor studies programs like to think of themselves as
activist-oriented--firmly grounded in the gritty world of workers.
They don't usually find themselves at the center of high-profile
political disputes. But in Sacramento cloakrooms, where lobbyists
normally whisper blandishments into legislators' ears, the University
of California's labor studies program is now being discussed in
language once reserved for reds, and worse. The program, lobbyists
say, not only organized meetings to stop the recall of then-Governor
Gray Davis, but last summer "union thugs" supposedly even left those
meetings to beat up recall petition circulators.

The accusations sound pretty wild, even considering California's usual
election histrionics, but they're more than just overheated rhetoric.
It's payback time in Sacramento. When newly elected Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger unilaterally imposed draconian budget cuts on the state
just before Christmas, he wiped out this year's remaining funding for
the Institute for Labor and Employment. If he does the same thing with
next year's appropriation in March, the institute will be destroyed.

[...]

--Thomas Leavitt



 



Blurring the line between journalism and lobbying (from Washington Monthly).

[The item below arrived in my mailbox via the Politech mailing list, which all free thinkers and free speech advocates are highly advised to subscribe to. Thought it was appropriate to the theme of this web log. -Thomas]


Declan,

I thought you [and Politech] might enjoy this essay on the blurring line
between journalism and lobbying. The title is "Meet the Press", by
Nicholas Confessore from the December 2003 Washington Monthly.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0312.confessore.html

[snip]

James Glassman and TCS have given birth to something quite new in
Washington: journo-lobbying. It's an innovation driven primarily by the
influence industry. Lobbying firms that once specialized in gaining
person-to-person access to key decision-makers have branched out. The new
game is to dominate the entire intellectual environment in which officials
make policy decisions, which means funding everything from think tanks to
issue ads to phony grassroots pressure groups.

[snip]

But TCS doesn't just act like a lobbying shop. It's actually published by
one--the DCI Group, a prominent Washington "public affairs" firm
specializing in P.R., lobbying, and so-called "Astroturf" organizing,
generally on behalf of corporations, GOP politicians, and the occasional
Third-World despot. The two organizations share most of the same owners,
some staff, and even the same suite of offices in downtown Washington, a
block off K Street. As it happens, many of DCI's clients are also
"sponsors" of the site it houses. TCS not only runs the sponsors' banner
ads; its contributors aggressively defend those firms' policy positions, on
TCS and elsewhere.

[snip]

--Thomas Leavitt


 



Jim Hightower's Weblog

Did you know that Jim Hightower has a Weblog?


 



Unprecedented In Modern Times

Reporter Mistakenly Covers Issues of Presidential Campaign @ Oliver Willis:
"The calm of the presidential campaign today was disrupted by an unprecedented event. White House press secretary Scott McClellan called the event 'disturbing', and promised it would 'be looked into at the highest levels of government'. At approxiamately 2:34pm (EST), reporter Mo Godwin of the Topeka News Tribune filed a story about the presidential campaign consisting only of perspectives on policy issues."
How could this happen in America!


 



Prisoners Tortured?

CincyDemo blog asks: Is it true that Bush's occupation forces have tortured Iraqi POWs?.


 



"Ownership society" scam on the way

The good things in your life can be your own property, or they can be things which have a monetary value but aren't property in a legal sense (such as a good job with benefits, or Social Security and other entitlements), or they can be public goods such as safe neighborhoods or good public schools.

For various reasons Americans (compared to Swedes, for example) have always preferred property they can solely control to the good things which take other forms. Americans also tend to overestimate their own success and their prospects for future success. For these two reasons, Republican attempts to deliver big benefits to their rich contributers (e.g., the elimination of the "death tax") get an amazing amount of support from people who basically are fooling themselves. They think that they're property owners, but they're not. They're labor.

Almost all Americans are still labor -- dependent on their own or someone else's wages. Various legal fictions invented in order to bust unions or to evade taxes (such as declaring certain categories of workers to be "contractors" or "supervisors") obscure this fact. But if you can't live off your property but have to work for a living, you're labor. (Small businessmen are a borderline case).

Take a 45-year-old guy with a paid-up $100,000 home, a $50,000 / year job with good benefits and a pension plan (in addition to Social Security), and two kids 6 and 8 whom he plans to send to the pretty-good public schools in his neighborhood*. And suppose that he also has $30,000 on the stock market.

Because he's a home owner with money on the stock market, he might be tempted to think of himself as part of the investor class. But he's not. If he loses his job and can't get another one, he and his family will be destitute in three to five years. If his neighborhood decays, he won't be able to move. If the local schools decline, he won't be able to send them to private schools. A net worth of $130,000 really isn't very much.

But his property is his alone. He doesn't share it or depend on anyone else for it. The other goods are much more valuable all put together, but they are not his property and not in his control.

The present trend in fake Republican populism is to reduce taxes while converting various forms of government entitlements (Social Security, education, Medicare, etc.) into cash benefits or vouchers. Simultaneously, workers with piddling little stock market nest-eggs are encouraged to believe that now they've "made it". Both scams depend on the fact that money in the hand has a definite countable value and is controlled by the owner, whereas it's harder to put a dollar value on good public schools, which are a shared good.

In the vast majority of cases the guy with the money in his hand will end up worse off in the "ownership society". There is no intention to improve his life. He's being sold a pig in a poke, and once his signature is on the dotted line (i.e., once the bill passes Congress) he'll be dead meat.

There are people who will benefit from the "ownership society", of course. But they are not the ones who it's being sold to, but the ones who are selling it. That's the way scams work.

* NOTE: In large areas of the U.S. the public schools still are pretty good. Oddly, a lot of the outcry about "our failing public schools" comes from Southerners, whose schools have never been very good. You'd think they'd put their own house in order before preaching to others, but human nature doesn't work that way.

("The Rise of the Worker-Investor" by Rich Lowry of the National Review is a recent example of this scam).

Originally from this discussion on Brad DeLong


 



We want our jokes!

Ok, now. Neil Bush has admitted in court to suffering from herpes and to having had sex with an unknown number of mysterious women in two cities of Asia. His ex-wife is being sued for claiming that Neil was the real father of another man's child. So where are the jokes?

Leno and Letterman won't touch the story. Like all normal Americans, Leno and Letterman love scurrilous gossip. Herpes is funny. Whores are funny, especially if you don't know who's paying them. Libel suits about adultery are funny. We can all agree on that.

If any of these stories were about Bill, or Bill's no-good brother Roger, or Hillary (to say nothing of Chelsea!), we'd be having a regular laff riot right now.

So where are the jokes? Come on, guys, what's the problem? What are you afraid of? We want our jokes! We want our fun!

(Originally from a discussion on Atrios),




 



Introducing Zizka

Zizka here. Dave has invited me to be guest blogger here at Seeing the Forest, and I am very happy to accept his offer. Some of you may remember me from my own site, the final incarnation of which was here. I tried to kill my site for months, mostly because it took too much energy to update it often enough to keep the readers coming. Being a guest blogger will a real treat for me.

More very soon.






 



Blog Hero Award

I hereby grant the coveted Blog Hero Award to this post today: Whiskey Bar: Slander.


 



Calexico

Another Calexico fan!




1/05/2004
 



Whiskey Bar: Deflation Nation

Whiskey Bar: Deflation Nation. I know it's long, but I feel like I'm giving everyone a heads-up if I suggest reading this. I'd feel guilty reading it and not passing it along.


 



The Finalists

Here are the finalists from MoveOn.org's Bush in 30 Seconds ad contest. I think they should run them all.


 



Stocks

Today's S&P 500 PE ratio is 30.6. See how this fits into a historical perspective here.

Update -A better chart, going back pre-1929 here.


 



Bush Knew

William Rivers Pitt | Two Loud Words:
"George W. Bush is going to run in 2004 on the idea that his administration is the only one capable of protecting us from another attack like the ones which took place on September 11. Yet the record to date is clear. Not only did they fail in spectacular fashion to deal with those first threats, not only has their reaction caused us to be less safe, not only have they failed to sufficiently bolster our defenses, but they used the aftermath of the attacks to ram through policies they couldn't have dreamed of achieving on September 10. It is one of the most remarkable turnabouts in American political history: Never before has an administration used so grisly a personal failure to such excellent effect."
We were attacked, and instead of dealing with the attack, the Republicans turned our grief and anger to their own political advantage. They passed tax cuts handing billions to campaign contributors, led us into pre-planned wars, and shamelessly set us against each other.

To put what the Repubicans are doing into perspective, think about this: Just the act of saying Republicans are better for protecting America than Democrats is a gross politicization of what happened, and is extremely divisive at a time when we should be sticking together. It weakens us. But the Republicans are going far, far beyond that. They accuse Democrats not only of lack of patriotism, but of actually "hating America" and supporting our enemies.


 



Donate To Disabled American Veterans

Juan Cole has a story about the large numbers of wounded in Iraq (11,000 medical evacuations). He suggests donating do the Disabled American Veterans.




1/04/2004
 



Dem Debate

A quick observation. Gephardt several times took past statements or positions by other candidates, distorts them, and then tries to claim this means the other candidate has a different position than that candidate really has, or that the candidate has somehow flip-flopped. He has done this several times. I like Gephardt -- a lot -- but this is the kind of thing that is so distasteful about "old politics." This is one of the tricks Republicans use.

Lieberman did this, about Dean's records. And now Kerry is doing this. What do they think they gain? The uninformed vote?

Who the hell is Michelle Norris, asking questions about "tax relief?" Tax RELIEF? She gets her questions from the Republican Party? From Lakoff:
"On the day that George W. Bush took office, the words "tax relief" started appearing in White House communiqués. Think for a minute about the word relief. In order for there to be relief, there has to be a blameless, afflicted person with whom we identify and whose affliction has been imposed by some external cause. Relief is the taking away of the pain or harm, thanks to some reliever.

This is an example of what cognitive linguists call a "frame." It is a mental structure that we use in thinking. All words are defined relative to frames. The relief frame is an instance of a more general rescue scenario in which there is a hero (the reliever), a victim (the afflicted), a crime (the affliction), a villain (the cause of affliction) and a rescue (the relief). The hero is inherently good, the villain is evil and the victim after the rescue owes gratitude to the hero. "



 



Brilliant

Madeleine K. Albright: Endangered friendships,
"The Republican strategy could play well among those persuaded by the administration's implicit claims that the invasion of Iraq was essentially a retaliatory measure for Sept. 11 and that attacking Saddam Hussein was simply another way of attacking Osama bin Laden.

Although unsupported by the facts - Bush himself has acknowledged that there is no evidence linking Iraq to Sept. 11 - this argument casts the war not as a subject for pragmatic discussion but rather as a moral test. The Germans and French failed this test, those advocates say, essentially deserting under fire.

The spectacle of the lone sheriff facing down the bad guys while the cowardly townspeople tremble in the background, crystalized in the classic film High Noon (1952), has deep resonance for the American electorate. Casting Bush as the rugged individualist taking on terrorists might well appeal to voters more than any Democratic insistence that the terrorist threat can be confronted and turned back only with the aid of old alliances and established institutions.

If the Republicans pursue an ideological campaign and win, the world will change in highly combustible ways.

It is one thing for an American administration to depart from traditional policies under stress and for a limited time, but it would be quite another for a president to win election with a mandate to make that departure permanent."



 



This Is How They Campaign For Office

This is how they do it: The following is from The Howard Dean implosion,
"Dean's success amongst Democrats can be largely attributed to the fact that he has been able to galvanize and energize certain factions of the Democratic Party: namely the "new age hippies" and those who are seriously desperate for either a date or a party.

[. . .] Essentially, it's a revamping of the "political love-in" from the '60s, where pot-smoking hippies would use politics as a guise for picking up dates. Now, Dean -- having "liberated" the gays of the state of Vermont by legislating civil unions, much in the same way he might imagine that Lincoln "liberated" the slaves -- is out to "free" every sex-starved, party-deprived Democrat and give them what they really want: a good time.

[. . .]Man, is this guy ever angry. I mean, seriously agitated. Then again, he is the poster boy for the same state (Vermont) that the Drug Enforcement Administration ranks No. 2 in the country in per-person Ritalin use, so perhaps his constant agitation is fitting.

Dean rants and raves and flings and flails so much during debates, events and appearances that I honestly don't know how anyone could picture this guy in the Oval Office, within an arm-fling's distance of the Big Red Button. It seems that once the blood gets flowing to Dean's reddened face, it all gets diverted directly from his brain, since he has a tendency of getting worked up and running off at the mouth with unsubstantiated, knee-jerk claims.

[. . .]Dean seems to have cornered the market on anti-war supporters -- the same ones who boo George W. Bush's and Ronald Reagan's names on liberal college campuses, yet cheer dictators like Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. If you wish Saddam Hussein was still in power, then Dean is your man.

[. . .]The obvious lesson here is if you want a safer world and a more secure America, vote for Bush; if you want Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-Il in sensitivity training, then Howard Dean is quite clearly the guy for you."
This is not just an accidental, glib, throw-away wingnut hit piece. This is part of a coordinated, researched, tested, professional character assassination campaign that will phase in and ramp up between now and the election. This is the modern Republican Party. This is Norquist's Wednesday Meeting, and Karl Rove and the Wurlitzer, and cigarette company marketing people, and former CIA destabilization specialists all working together to do their job ON YOU! (Also see here.) This is George Bush "staying above the fray" while his subordinates engage in the nastiest kind of character assassination and voter manipulation -- spreading lying, humiliating, ridiculing smear after lying, humiliating, ridiculing smear until even YOU hate Dean! You'll see thousands of these smear jobs this year. You're going to see literally 10 or 20 of these every single day until the slime and humiliating and ridicule build up so deep that you even hate yourself just for thinking of voting.

Here's the author's bio. Note this: "Rachel has served as a Director of a Washington, DC-based political think-tank". Try Googling her, and see how she's connected to "the movement." Go here to see the letters of praise from the White House and Ken Starr. "Thanks for everything you are doing, and have done, on behalf of the President's agenda." This is a professional, working for The Party.

Steel yourself, prepare yourself, get ready for a year of this, getting worse every single day. This is what is coming. This is what they do!

The way to fight it is to recognize that this is what they do, and not get confused by the words, and not get bogged down trying to refute each smear. Recognize that this is what they do, and tell everyone you can that this is what they do. Do your research, so you understand who is doing it and how it works. Talk to others. Write letters to newspapers. Call talk shows. Send e-mails to reporters. Demand that they stop it! And help others get angry at the perpetrators rather than fall for the scam.




Copyright © 2002-05.





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